ONEONTA – Michele (Michael) Mongillo, 91, Oneonta, a retired D&H conductor whose Navy service included an assignment to Tinian, where the U.S. detonated the first atomic bomb, passed away Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018, at his home.
He was born Dec. 15, 1926, in Oneonta, the son of the late Pasquale and Rose (Perrine) Mongillo. Mike graduated from Oneonta High School, Class of 1944.
Michael enlisted in the Navy in the fall of 1944. After attending basic training at Sampson, he traveled by troop train to the West Coast where he managed to see his brother, Tony Mongillo, (also in the Navy) briefly before they each traveled to their respective duty assignments.
Michael was assigned to a Navy Seebee unit on Tinian Island. Little did he know that in August 1945 the first atomic weapons would be utilized bringing the end to the war with Japan. He would joke and say, “They never told us anything about atomic bombs being there.”
Michael completed his enlistment based in mainland China. He was a proud Navy veteran and enjoyed sharing his experiences overseas.
After discharge from the Navy, he returned to Oneonta and began a 38-year career working for the D&H Railroad. He retired as a conductor. He loved to talk about life as a railroader and saw the steam engine age transition to modern diesel powered engines of today. He loved riding in the caboose and sharing what that was like. He was a railroader through and through!
Michael married Josephine Heck on May 29 1949. They were married for 50 years at the time of Josephine’s death on Jan. 17, 2000.
Mike was especially proud of the house he built on Boylston Street in Oneonta. His roots were in the “lower deck” of Oneonta. It was one of the first “shell homes” offered by Briggs Lumber Company. Mike and Sissy (Josephine) and other family members and friends completed the entire interior of the beautiful four bedroom ranch style home.
Mike was very caring individual. In his later years, he could be found visiting friends and loved ones who needed support or just a friendly face. Mike had his circle of family and friends who he routinely called to check on, most likely as important for him as it was for them. He cared deeply for his family be it siblings, children, grandchildren or extended members and had a proud tradition of making sure that no birthday went without a card sent in his own hand.
Mike was also a very proud man. From his upbringing as a first-generation Italian American from the Sixth Ward, to his service to his country, to the building of his new home with the help of family and friends, Mike was meticulous at whatever he decided to put his mind to. He loved tending to his gardens, vegetables and flowers alike and tending to the property in which he enjoyed his final days.
Mike is survived by his four children, Linda Wheeler, Oneonta, Steven (Susan) Mongillo, Oneonta, Patrick (Lori) Mongillo, Unadilla and Barbara (Vincent) Eady, Endicott;10 grandchildren, Kimberly Wheeler, Oneonta, Jeffrey Wheeler and Patti Noon, Oneonta, Monica (Jonathan) Jakiel, Vernon, Cennecticut, Jared Mongillo and Amanda Lyons, Apalachin, Todd Mongillo and Kennie Johnson, Mohawk, Kelly Mongillo (Timothy) Dumpleton, Buffalo, Mark Mongillo, Unadilla, Gregg (Erin) Eady, Hickory, North Carolina, Shawn (Heather) Eady, Seattle, Washington and Joelle Eady, Endicott; nine great-grandchildren, Kyla, Alexandra, Cecilia, Bryce, James, Alexander, Christiaan, Rikard and Rory; two sisters, Philomena Washburn, Oneonta and Hope (Douglas) Davidson, Treadwell; special caregivers, Nadeyda, Tami, Stepfanie and Carrie; special niece, Ruth Coates Fennelly; as well as several nieces, nephews, cousins and godchildren.
He was predeceased by grandson, Michael Patrick Mongillo; sister, Virginia Naples; and brother, Anthony Mongillo.
A funeral mass will be at 10 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 1, at St. Mary’s Church, 39 Walnut St., Oneonta with the Rev. David Mickiewicz officiating. Burial will be held in the spring in Mt. Calvary Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to St. Mary’s Church, 39 Walnut St., Oneonta, NY 13820, the American Cancer Society, 5 Oak Ave, Sidney, NY 13838 or Catskill Area Hospice & Palliative Care, 297 River Street Service Road, Oneonta, NY 13820, in loving memory of Michael Mongillo.
Online condolences to the family may be made at www.grummonsfuneralhome.com.
Arrangements are by the Lester R. Grummons Funeral Home, Oneonta.